What 1 Timothy 6:9-10 Has to Say to Entrepreneurs
It’s ironic that “The Midas Touch” is one of the highest compliments in modern business culture.
Originating in Greek mythology, the “Midas Touch” belongs to King Midas, who, through a genie-like god, is granted one wish. Midas wished that everything he touched would turn into gold, giving him unlimited wealth. Likewise, in today’s modern culture, the Midas Touch references a businessperson who tends to turn everything they touch into gold – i.e., a success.
But King Midas’s story doesn’t end there. As the king goes about turning twigs and roses into gold, he returns to his palace for a meal. There, his thrill turns to dread as his golden touch prevents him from eating or drinking. The pinnacle of the story occurs when the king touches his own daughter and realizes he wished for something that would become his own demise. Fortunately for Midas, his new talent is reversible.
Hence the irony of the compliment. Modern business culture views the golden touch to be a desirable skill. But that viewpoint omits the part of the story where that very skill would lead to Midas’s starvation, apart from the golden touch being reversed. It would be much more fitting if the Midas Touch were a warning: wealth and success can be a blessing, but the love of it can be deadly.
1 Timothy 6:9-10 says, “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”
It’s important to point out that Paul doesn’t say “money is a root of all kinds of evil” but rather “the love of money” is. There is a key distinction between the two.
GOOD USE OF MONEY
Money is a blessing and can be used for many good things. It can be used to provide for yourself and your family, for the enjoyment of travel or entertainment, and for generous giving to those in need or ministry/charitable endeavors. Money can be used as capital for a business to start or grow, by adding new products or services (and, by extension, value to consumers). It can provide employment and job satisfaction to the community and a return to shareholders.
In fact, the generous and business use of money provides a great opportunity to expand the spread of the gospel.
BAD USE OF MONEY
The contrary can also be true. Money can be used poorly. There are obvious indulgences that would bring shame to ourselves and God. But the less obvious, and possibly just as dangerous, is how money can allow us to feel – self-sufficient. Money can give us a false sense of control over our lives. As we accumulate wealth, we not only can take care of our needs but also many of our wants. In and of itself, that is a good thing. But in this, there is a tendency to forget who the provider really is.
There is a tendency to believe that “my” work earned this or that “my” business produced this.
Because of this, it becomes easy to believe that we succeed on our own, that we provide for ourselves, that we do not need anyone, or treacherously, God. He warns us of this concept in Deuteronomy 8:17-19: “Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. And if you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish.”
THE PURSUIT OF SOMETHING GREATER
So, if money can be used for good or evil, how then do we discern our own use? What is our application?
Consider this: money is a tool, a means to an end.
It also provides a microscopic view into our hearts. Reflecting on our capital allocation reveals our true heart’s desire. Is it for God, or is it for self?
The rest of 1 Timothy 6:11-12, provides guidance. “Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” In short, our capital, work, and wealth should be a tool in pursuit or a reflection of these, ultimately to the glory of God.
A few weeks ago, the FDE podcast honored the late Dr. Tim Keller, quoting him at a Sovereign Capital LP meeting: “Rejoice not that your name is written in the “Midas List,” rejoice instead that your name is written in the Book of the Lamb. Let your identity be as a beloved son of the Most High God that died for you so that you might be reconciled to him with the joy and gratitude that comes from that gift. Return to the altar with your meaningful form of worship.”
In the wake of modern culture worshipping the “Midas Touch” and the “Midas List”, faith driven entrepreneurs and investors should take it as a warning, remembering that our identity is rooted in the Lord Jesus Christ, who gives us an eternal joy that he gives graciously. It is not in material wealth or worldly success that leaves us feeling empty and vulnerable when trials come.
Therefore, seek the kingdom of God first, and if success and wealth come from entrepreneurship, it is for His glory, not ours.
What do we do with money? That’s a great question. Share your questions in an upcoming entrepreneur group in your city. Browse our group directory to filter by location, format, and industry. We look forward to connecting.
*Image used with permission. *